The Dedicated Staff at Highland Hospital
Winter weather—ick! I have never liked the winter. It probably comes from the fact that my birthday is in January, and for as long as I can remember, snow has interfered with our plans. Of course, as an adult who doesn’t necessarily like celebrating birthdays, that’s not such a bad thing anymore, but as a kid, I certainly remember a lot of worries over parties and snow! Now, as a leader in a health care organization, my winter worries are of another nature—how will we assure that we can keep our patient care areas staffed in winter weather? In an organization that provides care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are no snow days. So let’s talk about how we assure that we provide good-quality care even in inclement weather.
It takes a village every day to assure that we are providing safe care. In inclement weather, that village is even more important. Our facilities and maintenance staff members start very early (sometimes working all night) to assure that our grounds are safe for our staff, patients and visitors to traverse. They constantly plow and shovel and salt our sidewalks and our parking lots for safety. Our facilities’ employees are also on call to go out and pick up staff, if needed, in bad weather, as long as it is safe to travel. They also make sure that our pipes don’t freeze, that our roof is clear, and that our heating system is working. Our housekeeping staff starts early and works all day on removing all that salt and grime that we bring in on our feet to assure that we don’t have slips and falls in our buildings. Our emergency preparedness coordinator works to assure that, if needed, we have the ability to allow our employees to sleep over, get showers and food and be available to work, if needed. Our dietary staff members begin early in the morning to assure that everyone is fed nutritious meals. Our staffing office skillfully manages call-ins due to weather and shuffles staff to assure that we have safe staffing levels. Our leadership staff splits into two teams so that we constantly have leadership available in the hospital to deploy staff, solve problems and provide resources when needed. And finally, our clinical staff members go above and beyond to assure that they are available to work and also to keep our patients busy on days when we cannot go outside due to bad weather or when school is cancelled. I’ve seen some pretty creative activities occurring in our hallways when the snow is falling!
So, I still don’t like winter weather. But, knowing that there is a team who is so devoted to assuring that, even when icy or snowy weather is upon us, our patients are getting amazing care makes me a little happier. Even so, I still say, come on summer!